Carson teen takes on tough volunteer project |

Carson teen takes on tough volunteer project

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Photo submitted From left, Juan Guzman, Carson City's open-space manager; Life Scout Dan Childs; and Adam Sullivan, a wetlands consultant with Wood Rogers.

Dan Childs, 17, completed an especially challenging project to obtain his Eagle Scout credentials – making a natural area in the city less hospitable to mosquitoes.

“I wanted to do something to benefit the community,” Childs said. “I’ve been told the area has the highest population of mosquitoes in Carson City.”

Childs is going to be a senior at Carson High School when he returns in a few weeks. A Life Scout in Troop 341, he has been involved in scouting since he was 6 or 7 years old and has earned 19 merit badges.

He and a group of youths spent more than a dozen hours one recent weekend at the site, west of the freeway. They removed 2,500 pounds of weeds and plants by the time they were finished.

The growth had to be removed in a specific way because the fragile section of the Lompa Wetlands is also home to other species. Some areas could be cleared while others could only be thinned. They did their best to keep to a pattern.

“That was for looks and variety,” he said of the removal method. The main purpose of the project was “to make the creek flow faster.”

Sites with standing water are hospitable breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Making the water flow more easily makes it too difficult for the insects to reproduce, Childs explained.

West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis and Western Equine encephalitis are the major diseases mosquitoes carry in this region, according to city Health and Human Services.

Along with having the project approved by Boy Scout leaders, Childs had to obtain consent from the city and give a presentation about it to the Carson River Advisory Committee before he could proceed.

The city helped the young men by providing tools, equipment and other materials.

“Before I was kind of vague about what it takes to get projects done around the city,” he said “I learned mostly about how to carry out a project, get the materials and do it properly.”

While the young men were out working in and around the creek, a resident approached one of the adults supervising the work and asked whether they could do something about graffiti sprayed nearby. Pretty quickly, some of the boys had brushes in their hands and were painting over the graffiti on the fence.

“We did a lot of work that weekend,” Childs said.

There were some moments of pleasure at the work site.

“We got free pizza,” he added.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.